Tag Archives: gender roles


For those of you that just know me on the Internet, you may be shocked (SHOCKED!) to find that I wasn’t always Emily Heist Moss. I added the Heist a couple of years back to correct an imbalance I felt in my name.

After reading Molly Caro May’s excellent essay on The Hairpin about giving her daughter her last name instead of her husband’s, I decided to share the full rationale for the Heist addition this week on Role/Reboot:




Related Post: What’s in a name? A post for The Good Men Project on other options besides adopting the husband’s last name.

Related Post: Guest post from Julianna Britto Schwartz


1 Comment

Filed under Family, Gender, Republished!

Dating like a feminist

Last week I joined Molly and Brian on Vocalo’s Feminist Wednesdays to talk about dating while feminist. As usual, it was a blast and a half. What part should gender roles play in modern dating? How much should we rely on traditional who-does-what? Should we just mimic the gays? They seem able to figure this out without pointing at genitalia as the reason one person should or shouldn’t buy the other person dinner…

Listen away!

Related Post: Dating should not be a meal ticket.

Related Post: Why online dating is hard for guys.


Filed under Gender

“Think Like a Man” and other Silly “Pinned” Things

I like Pinterest. I have a pretty “Books to Read” board, a “Gifts” board, and the obligatory food porn in row after glossy row. In addition to the double peanut butter choco-chunk rice-crispified ding dong sticks, Pinterest also facilitates the sharing of stupid shit (much like the whole internet). My dear friend (another Emily), has sent me her pet peeve that was the latest recipient of unnecessary pinning frenzy:


Look like a girl, act like a lady, think like a man, work like a boss. Oy vey. People repin stuff like this everyday without giving it a second thought. Though it headfakes towards pithy and witty, in reality it’s a rather convoluted, offensive, heteronormative piece of sexist bullcrap. If you were to rewrite this as most people interpret it, it would read “Be pretty, don’t be slutty, men are smarter, work hard.” That last bit is fine, I suppose, but the rest of it is all kinds of dumb.

Let’s start with “Look like a girl.” What do girls look like? would tell you they look all kinds of ways (tall, short, thin, fat, short hair, long hair, busty, flat-chested, mostly, they look like humans). Believe it or not, sometimes girls even look “like boys,” and that’s okay! If you like sweater vests, combat boots, men’s overalls, basketball jerseys, ties, jumpsuits, mohawks, hairy armpits, or clown costumes, it really, really, really doesn’t make you any less of a girl.

Act like a lady. What do ladies act like? Some of them are bold, some are quiet, some are aggressive, some are shy, some are boisterous, some are polite, some are demanding, some are sweet, some are mean…. I could go on as long as I can keep thinking of adjectives. But what do we usually mean when we say “act like a lady?” Don’t be slutty. Don’t be pushy. Don’t make a scene. Don’t make people uncomfortable. Don’t be a bitch. Don’t rock the boat. Don’t question the standard quo. Don’t ask for what you want.

Most obviously problematic is the directive to “Think like a man.” How do men think? If we’re supposed to mimic them, the implication is that they think better than women. Why is something so blantatly sexist so appealing for women to post all over the most female-dominated social network of all time? Are we really that self-hating?

“Work like a boss.” This is just douchey, and sounds like something Ryan Lochte would say, but it isn’t really sexist so I’m not going to bother addressing it.

Look like a human, Act like a good human, Think to the best of your ability, Work like a boss. Fine, we can keep the last one.

Related Post: When I joined Pinterest

Related Post: I WILL respect myself in the morning, Zipcar


Filed under Gender, Media

Sunday Scraps 86


1. WRITING: Man, If only our shared first name meant I shared talent with Emily Rapp (Ditto Emily Nussbaum, Emily McCombs). In this essay for The Rumpus, Rapp writes about finding intimacy while her son continues to die. If that sounds sad, it is, but it’s also beautiful.

2. PARENTING: Emily McCombs, editor of XOJane, writes about her creative path towards motherhood and it’s pretty inspiring.

3. INSTAGRAM: Complete with lyrics (for your singalong desires), College Humor nails our obsession with Instagram with this parody of Nickelback’s “Photograph.”

4. SUFFRAGE: Weird and strange and weird again. Here’s a children’s book from 1910 against women’s suffrage.

5. TED: Anita Sarkeesian, from Feminist Frequency, speaks at TEDx Women on online harassment.

6. ROLES: Really interesting video imagining what club life (ha) would be like if the stereotypical roles of men and women were reversed. Who objectifies and gets objectified?

Related Post: Sunday 85: Painless? The path to the NFL, Ann Patchett’s new book store.

Related Post: Sunday 84: Astronaut letters, bedrooms around the world, women who model as men


Filed under Family, Gender, Really Good Writing by Other People

Sunday Scraps 77

1. GENDER: The Stranger has brilliantly skewered Rolling Stone’s annual “Women Who Rock” issue by turning the tables and throwing the dudes a bunch of ridiculous softball questions.

2. WEDDINGS: As a soon-to-be maid-of-honor, I was tickled horrified by this bride’s instructional email to her bridesmaids (Gawker).

3. FOOTBALL: Now that this ref strike is over, hear how it went from the scab side with a Time interview with replacement ref Jerry Frump.

4. POLITICS: Apparently, some foreign governments are learning about democracy through viewings of The West Wing. The Atlantic explains why this is perhaps not the most realistic model…

5. WEIGHT: Author Jennifer Weiner writes for Allure. What’s a fat mom to do when her thin daughter pulls a Mean Girl move and calls another girl fat?

6. RAHIEL: Urban Cusp founder Rahiel Tesfamariam, born in Eritrea, now an internet celeb, sums up her epic tweet series on her path to success.

Related Post: Sunday 76: fast food nation, Zadie Smith, xkcd, and Vice Magazine.

Related Post: Sunday 75: Moms-in-chief, best word ever, library tattoos


Filed under Art, Body Image, Gender, Media, Politics, Really Good Writing by Other People, Sports

Things that are not the opposite of misogyny

Remember when I wrote about Newsroom? This is what I was trying to say:

“And yet semi-hallowed reverence for women is not actually the opposite of misogyny. The feminist utopia version of Newsroom isn’t the one where the female characters are Perfect and Powerful. It’s a version where the female characters aren’t completely othered at every moment; where their motivations make as much sense as male characters’; where they’re given the same opportunities to be perfect and imperfect, powerful and disempowered, as right, wrong, scared, and brave as their male counterparts.”

That’s Margaret Lyons at New York Mag and I could kiss her right now.

Much like racists protest their racism by pointing vaguely at their black friends, and Sarah Palin protests calls of bigotry by waving at her gay hairstylist, misogynists have created all sorts of misguided diversions to distract from their misogyny. Let’s take a look:

1. Protectionism: This ancient strategy involves demonstrating your “respect” for women by protecting their delicate sensibilities from the less pink and sparkly parts of life. Ladies might not understand how sad they’ll be after an abortion, so we should make this decision for them! Women don’t understand biology, so we must push an ultrasound in front of their faces!

Why this is dangerous: A central tenet of equality is the belief in the autonomy and decision-making power of adults. The perception that women possess lesser powers of discernment and need “coaching” to understand complex concepts is insulting and belittling.

2. Pedestal-ism: I made up this word, but I think it accurately describes the notion that women exist to be admired instead of included. Anybody who refers to keeping women “pure,” “innocent,” “ladylike,” etc. is a proponent of pedestalism. Anyone who insists that the maintainance of beauty standards is essential to “womanhood” is invested in perpetuating the role of women as objects of adoration.

Why this is dangerous: Pedestalism is about restricting the female sphere of influence and ensuring that women waste their time pursuing physical admiration instead of learning, communicating, growing, evolving, and being rock stars.

3. Chivalry: I’m not talking about opening a car door (though honestly, good rule of thumb: be nice to people and help each other out. Duh.) Being a provider is not the same as being a partner. Paying the bills or picking up dinner doesn’t make you not a misogynist. Recognizing women as equal partners in social engagements, relationships, the workplace and the home is what makes you not a misogynist.

Why this is dangerous: Chivalry creates patterns of entitlement and transaction in social engagements based on gender. Kindness and generosity, however, create goodwill and reciprocity between peers.

4. Separate but Equalism: Acknowledging lady-talent in traditionally lady-spheres is not the same as recognizing that human variation in talent and preference cuts across genders. There are not “natural” career fits for women vs. men, and even if there were, do you think it’s accidental that the lowest paying professions (caretaking in all forms) are traditionally female? We make career decisions based on what we’re good at, yes, but what we’re good out is often borne out of deeply ingrained and unfair societal messages about gender and skill.

Why this is dangerous: Encouraging your daughter to be a nurse and your son to be a surgeon because she’s a girl and he’s a boy perpetuates long term wage disparity. Maybe those are their ideal careers, but maybe you just can’t wrap your head around your son’s caretaking strengths and your daughters’ love of knives.

5. Family: Having a wife, sister, mother or daughter does not make you not a misogynist.

Why this is dangerous: You can’t hide your misogyny behind a family photo.

Related Post: Why family leave policy is at the root of gender disparity in leadership

Related Post: The death of “pretty”. Ick.


Filed under Gender, Hollywood, Politics, Sex

Sunday Scraps 36

1. HAIR: I love this essay on Jezebel by Autumn Whitefield about the social and personal implications of short hair on women. Maybe, as she suggests, the expressed male preference for long hair comes from conditioning, not from some sort of inherently biological attraction.

2. WRITING: Gaby Dunn (100 Interviews) explains some of the nitty-gritty, behind-the-scenes of trying to make a name and a living from blogging. Apparently, it’s not as easy as she makes it seem.

3. CHALLENGE: Best of luck.

4. ENVOY: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton named Ellen DeGeneres as a special envoy for global AIDS awareness. Not sure what a special envoy does, but I love these two ladies, so who cares.

5. INK: New York Times has a gallery of science-related tattoos. I happen to know a gentleman with the chemical structure of seratonin on his arm, and another with an anatomically correct skull of a T-rex. Beautiful and educational.

6. WEDDED BLISS: Fun piece from The Frisky about non-traditional engagements involving Jim Beam and mixed feelings on wearing $1,000 diamonds on your finger.

Related Post: Sunday 35 = Lady boxers, Louis vs. Rick, Magic Johnson and more.

Related Post: Sunday 34 = The Phantom Tollbooth, beluga births, race in Hollywood casting.


Filed under Art, Body Image, Gender, Hollywood, Media, Politics, Really Good Writing by Other People